Cold fusion, or Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) as many prefer to call it, has a complex and checkered history; and many are still skeptical it is a real phenomenon. But as Beaudette summarized in his excellent book Excess Heat, the data in favor of the existence of LENR has increased year after year over the last decades. The nature of the phenomenon remains poorly understood -- and the success of LENR experiments can be frustratingly dependent on laboratory conditions and purity of materials. But still, it seems increasingly clear there is something important here.
One of the more controversial LENR approaches has been Andrea Rossi's E-Cat system, a device said to work by infusing heated hydrogen into nickel, transmuting it into copper and producing heat in the process. Tests of the E-Cat have generated various controversies in the past (e.g. related to the machine being covered up during testing), and the LENR community has been eager for independent third-party testing of the ysystem.
Such a third party test has now been reported, in a paper dryly titled “Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder”.
In short, “the results obtained indicate that energy was produced in decidedly higher quantities than what may be gained from any conventional source.”
“Data were collected in two experimental runs lasting 96 and 116 hours, respectively,” with the first experiment demonstrating a COP (Coefficient of Performance) of almost 6, and a energy density estimated at five orders of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources. This means an energy production (per liter) one order of magnitude higher than a conventional source.
More replications will be valuable of course, and it would be better to more thoroughly understand the underlying physics. But this is a feather in the cap of Rossi's E-Cat approach, and preliminarily promising for the LENR field and its practical applications.
If you're curious for more: This Forbes blog post presents a few more details on the replication, and the comments at the end of that post elaborate some of the controversy regarding Rossi.
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